Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I am Aaron Castillo. I am a Mexican-American, LGBTQIA screenwriter, and director. I feel what sets me apart is my background in counseling psychology. I obtained my Masters in Science in counseling at USC here in LA. I write what I know and include my experiences as a therapist in my narrative stories.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
When I speak, I am heard! When I speak, there is power!
What makes me unique in this industry is who I am. My personal identity and perspective on a narrative from my queer but very traditional Mexican American background. Some think it would clash but it yields in a fresh new conservative but freaky narrative of stories from my point of view.
I respect my culture because it is beautiful and rich in tradition. I love being Mexican and I love where my ancestry comes from. However, I am also gay. I love that too. I love how outspoken, courageous, and powerful queer people have had to be in the last 50 years to get where we are. Both identities ignite a fire inside of me. One that desires to be heard. I feel that when I win, it’s a win for all people like me.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I have always wanted to be in front of a camera… until I wasn’t. I thought I would sing, dance, and act my way to Broadway since I was making my family watch me perform Paula Abdul Numbers in my living room growing up.
I remember the first time I took one of my short stories, that I wrote in my office when I should have been typing my clinical notes, and made my first professional short film out of it. I fell in love. I knew at that moment that my calling was to create a world for the actors to live in.
I focused on screenwriting and directing and have never looked back.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
Bullying sucks. I remember being called the “F word” because of my sexual identity and it made me feel so ashamed of who I was. I wanted to get home, get in bed and never return to school, to the world in general.
I remember looking in the mirror and wishing I was just like every other boy! I wanted that so bad. I so desperately wanted to blend in until I was a freshman in college pursuing my degree in Film when my professor told me, “Tell your story! Show me your side! Stop diminishing your light, Aaron!” From that moment, I decided that I would stop dragging around a small little pilot light but instead walk into every room with my light BLAZING.
It was not easy, and of course, I still was told discouraging words, but instead of it ruining me and making me want to run home, it only made me want to run faster and further. My light shines brightly now. Thank you, Dr. Howard, your words have never left me.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
- Wendy Alane Wright. I love her fearless attitude and she is just a wealth of knowledge. I’d love to just sit and gab for an hour about our paths in this industry.
- Gregory Nava. I admire the legacy of his work. Obviously, I love his directing success in Selena but I am a big fan of his 2006 film Bordertown. I love how he also tells stories from his Latin point of view. His stories are real and I love that.
- Eva Longoria. I want to cast her in my film about my life. Hook it up!
Drop your social media links.